Tony Elumelu initiative worth emulating

Last week, I attended the third annual Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) Entrepreneurship Forum in Lagos, Nigeria.

I was lucky to make it to the final list of Africa Journalism Fellows after a rigorous selection process.

The TEF forum is a gathering of African entrepreneurs, where representatives from over 54 countries meet with business leaders, established entrepreneurs and policy markers to forge partnerships, share insights and fashion Africa-made solutions to accelerate the transformation of the continent.

The gathering is the culmination of the TEF entrepreneurship forum’s initiator who is also a renowned philanthropist Tony Elumelu’s $100 million commitment to identifying, training, mentoring and empowering 10,000 entrepreneurs in 10 years.

TEF seeks applications annually, which they review and make their selection based on a transparent criteria and contact successful applicants.

Seed capital

The selected applicants go through 12 weeks of intensive training on setting up and managing businesses.

A mentor then guides successful applicants in creating a robust business plan. Afterwards, TEF gives $5,000 seed capital through the United Bank of Africa (UBA) in a non-returnable grant plus access to a $5,000 convertible loan.

So, through this programme, many young entrepreneurs across Africa were already doing successful businesses, which have created employment for more people.

Well, that is how Tony Elumelu is touching lives in Africa to make it a respectable continent. He is already giving hope to the hopeless youth who are frustrated by unemployment. And he encourages the already established entrepreneurs to help others to succeed.

Tony Elumelu says many Africans die with great ideas which could change in their communities because there was no one to hold their hands and give them some hope – seed capital to help them actualise these dreams.

Political stability

So you can imagine if in each African country, we could find people who were selfless like Tony Elumelu trying to rid their nations of poverty. Our nations would be boasting strong economies and prosperity.

These budding entrepreneurs would create a lot of wealth and jobs, and in return it would bring back hope to our people.

I don’t think our people would even be dying in deep seas while going to look for greener pastures abroad. And for our leaders, it was time to respect human and democratic rights to ensure there is peace for these businesses to run smoothly.

It is upon states to help promote such initiatives by building productive economic sectors and removing stringent policies, which inhibit development.

One of them is the government regulation and red tape, which include registration, permitting and licensing. I believe there are many others out there preventing businesses from operating.

For any business to make profits and play a role in any economy, there has to be a political stability in that nation since government policies determine their fate.

A conducive environment is crucial for business to operate efficiently and play a role in poverty reduction.

Great sons of Africa like Tony Elumelu were already doing their bit. It is up to us to emulate him ands make Africa great again.

@JanetOtieno

kikijanty@gmail.com

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